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How should you begin and finish an email

How should you begin and finish an email message to someone you don’t know? Find out here!

Starting and finishing emails (28 Jan 2018)

Here are some important points to consider when starting and finishing an email.

Formal or informal?

We write a formal email when we want to be polite, or when we do not know the reader very well. A lot of work emails are formal. We write informal emails when we want to be friendly, or when we know the reader well. A lot of social emails are informal. Here are some examples of formal and informal messages:

FormalInformal
An email to a customer
A job application
An email to your manager
A complaint to a shop
An email from one company to another company
A birthday greeting to a colleague
An email to a colleague who is also a good friend
A social invitation to a friend at your workplace
An email with a link to a funny YouTube clip
A message to a friend on a social networking site

Before you start writing an email, decide if you want to write a formal email or an informal one.

Layout and punctuation

Starting an email: We normally write a comma after the opening phrase. We start a new line after the name of the person we’re writing to.

Finishing an email: We normally write a comma after the closing phrase. We start a new line to write our name at the end.

FormalInformal
Dear Mr Piper,
I am writing to thank you for all your help.
I look forward to seeing you next week.
With best wishes,
John Smith
Hi Tim,
Many thanks for your help.
See you next week.
Cheers,
John

Phrases for starting and finishing

Here are some phrase which we use for starting and finishing emails. We use these in formal and informal emails:

 

Starting phrasesDear Tim,
Good morning Tim,
Ending phrasesRegards,
With best wishes,
With many thanks and best wishes,

You also need to know which phrases to use only in a formal email or an informal one:

 FormalInformal
Starting phrasesDear Mr Piper,
Dear Sir or Madam,
Hi Tim,
Hi there Tim,
Morning/Afternoon/Evening Tim,
Hello again Tim,
Ending phrasesYours sincerely,
Yours faithfully,
Yours truly,
Rgds,
Cheers,
Bye for now,
See you soon,

 

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